It was 9:15 a.m. Monday when Jessica Fouch and her three children got in line for a giveaway for free season passes to Louisville's Kentucky Kingdom.

By the time Fouch and her children finally left that afternoon with a coveted voucher that would earn them a pass for the theme park, the well-intentioned event had turned into an angry scrum.

"He got punched in the face, she got kneed in the back, he got squashed and fell down and stepped on, and I had somebody try to set a chair down on my foot," Fouch said, pointing in order to 11-year-old Nate, 8-year-old Emma and 6-year-old Noah. "It was just a mess. It was not working."

Fouch and her children spent hours shoulder to shoulder with more than 1,000 children and adults from western Louisville who were hoping to take advantage of the offer, sponsored by local commercial construction company The Mardrian Group.

TMG announced the deal over the weekend, stating it started the ticket giveaway initiative in response to the city's closure of public pools around Louisville because of budget cuts.

The passes were for children 14 and younger, and recipients had to have a current Medicaid card to qualify.

Kentucky Kingdom spokesman Adam Birkner said the theme park was not behind the giveaway, and that TMG was giving away passes it had purchased.

"It was a fun thing for the community that they wanted to do," Birkner said.

But what ensued during the giveaway was anything but fun.

Hundreds waited for hours to be one of 300 to receive a free season pass for a child 14 years and younger to Kentucky Kingdom. LMPD had to control the crowd as some tempers flared. The Mardrian Group, a commercial construction company, sponsored the event but a lack of a cohesive line brought frustration, linejumpers and arguments.

OneWest President and CEO Evon Smith, who works in the suite next to where the giveaway was taking place at 2028 W. Broadway, said she arrived to work at 8 a.m. to a crowd of 50 or 60 people.

Two hours later, she said, around 200 people were gathered in the parking lot. By noon, the line stretched from the front door, around the side and around the back of the building to Dr. W J Hodge Street, where it wound down the block to Maple Street.

The crowds were heavy everywhere. But they were worst at the front door of the business, where organizers let in ticket winners one by one.

The crowd at the door became angry at organizers, at the heat and at others who had cut the lengthy line. People were packed so tight that those inside the suite had trouble opening the door.

At one point a man inside held up a sign that said "BACK UP, GET IN LINE" in an attempt to settle down the crowd. Louisville Metro Police officers arrived shortly after 1 p.m., setting up yellow tape around the line and attempting to bring some kind of order to the chaos.

"It was probably a good idea, a good intention, just (organizers) not understanding the full impact of trying to do something like that and what it takes," Smith said. "But I would say there's no criticism here because that's a ton of money they gave out."

Police officers used a bullhorn to urge the crowd to form a more orderly line, with little success.

By 4 p.m., the crowd had thinned but more than 100 people were still in line, many packed around the front door.

A woman identifying herself as Teresa Bridgewaters took to the police bullhorn to make the announcement that organizers were shutting down the event.

Bridgewaters is listed as the president of TMG in state business records.

"We thought this would be a fun time for all the children to receive free signups for season passes," she said, later declining to fully identify herself or answer questions. "But there's too many people that do not want to follow the rules."

She told those gathered that TMG may have another sign-up event at a later date, with a different process but that nothing had been decided.

"I hope people will come and act like adults, with their own children with the required information," she said. "If not, the money will be given back to the donors who've helped support the event."

Tammy Sanderson, who arrived four hours before the event was supposed to start at 1 p.m., left empty-handed.

"They tried to just give away something free and expected everybody to just go by the rules -- which they weren't," Sanderson said. "… They did it totally wrong. Now, if they need some suggestions, they could give me a call and I will politely tell them, 'Hey, this is how we should do this.'"

Sanderson estimated around noon that there were around 1,500 in line. She arrived at 9 a.m. after her mom called her a couple of hours earlier while she was driving by the Broadway plaza.

"She was like, 'Tammy, I see a line. Get up and go,'" Sanderson said.

It was hot for much of the afternoon, though clouds and a breeze cooled down the scene after 2 p.m. Lucretia's Kitchen donated five cases of water bottles for the crowd, Smith said, and OneWest also reached out to ice cream trucks and other traveling food services to help.

Fouch, who was toward the front of the line and was one of the first to receive a ticket, said the voucher told her she could pick up her ticket at Kentucky Kingdom Wednesday. The organizers inside the room, with an angry crowd packed outside and down the block, were just as "irritated and agitated" as the people outside it, Fouch added.

She, too, said she would have put a little more effort into planning the giveaway.

"They had no organizational skills whatsoever," Fouch said. "I think they should have had a clipboard, everybody, as they got here, should have signed in, and they should have went down the list on the clipboard."

After the event had been canceled, Marsha Qualls stood in the parking lot holding a packet of Social Security cards, birth certificates and medical cards. She had arrived six hours earlier hoping to secure passes for her children and grandchildren.

"They were looking forward to going to Kentucky Kingdom and getting a free pass," she said. "It's something to do to get off the streets. The streets are bad."

She said she was leaving disappointed, wishing the event would have been better organized and the crowd would have been more cooperative.

"We stood in line. We had all the information," she said. "We did everything we were supposed to do."

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